Government Proposes Panel on MPs’ Salaries

Government Proposes Panel on MPs’ Salaries – The proposed panel will also decide whether MPs should be docked a part of their pay for disrupting House proceedings, according to agenda notes prepared for a conference this week.

Even as the Seventh Pay Commission is set to suggest the extent of salary hike for government staff, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has proposed a 3-member independent Emoluments Commission to recommend salaries and other allowances for the Members of Parliament.

In 2005, the then Lok Sabha Speaker Somanth Chatterjee wrote to the government to set up an independent panel to decide the pay and perks of MPs. The idea found endorsement at a special meeting of leaders of political parties who were sensitive to the sharp criticism for the manner in which MPs gave themselves a raise. While it did not reject the idea, the UPA government did not favour the idea on the grounds that allowing outsiders to determine salaries of MPs will dilute provisions in the Constitution.

Nearly a decade after it was first mooted, the government decided to take forward the idea of forming an independent Emoluments Commission to recommend salaries and other allowances for Members of Parliament.

The proposed panel will also decide whether MPs should be docked a part of their pay for disrupting House proceedings, according to agenda notes prepared for a conference this week. The two-day All India Whips’ Conference organised by the parliamentary affairs ministry – is scheduled to start in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. According to the notes, the formation of the three-member Emoluments Commission is on the agenda.

“It would ensure that recommendations on Parliamentary salary are reached in a fair, transparent and equitable way. Once there is consensus on setting up of the Commission, the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act,1954 will be suitably amended,” Ministry of  Parliamentary affairs sources say.

In July, a joint parliamentary panel had recommended doubling the salaries of MPs from the Rs 50,000 a month they now get, raising their constituency allowance from Rs 45,000 to Rs 80,000, and pension from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000, as well as increasing the salaries of their personal staff from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000.

But the Centre rejected the recommendations following the backlash that had also to do with subsidised meals at the Parliament canteen at a time the country was in the grip of an agrarian crisis.

An MP, who didn’t want to be named, said “most” parliamentarians “cutting across party lines” were on the “same platform” when it comes to a salary hike. “But it will send a wrong signal.” One of the principles suggested is that those who choose to make Parliament a full-time career should be adequately rewarded to reflect their responsibilities.

Sources in the parliamentary affairs ministry today said some of the principles suggested for determining the salary were: it shouldn’t be so low as to deter suitable candidates or so high as to make the pay the primary attraction for the job; and should reflect the level of responsibility. “Those who choose to make Parliament a full-time career should be adequately rewarded to reflect their responsibilities,” the agenda notes say.

As per a comparative analysis of Members of Parliament in 37 developing and developed countries, basic salary of MPs are in the range of a meagre Rs 7,952 in Tunisia to a high of Rs 6,16,675 per month in Israel. MPs of only in six countries — Tunisia, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Haiti and Panama are drawing salary less than that of Indian MPs.

Want to know, what benefits the MPs’ enjoy already? Read below, but please don’t envy!

  • An MP in India gets a salary of Rs 50,000 per month. In addition, Rs 2,000 per day is paid as daily allowance when the MP signs the register while attending Parliament sessions or House committee meetings. The MP is entitled to Rs 45,000 constituency allowance every month — Rs 15,000 for stationery and Rs 30,000 to employ secretarial assistance staff.
  • MPs are also entitled for a government accommodation. The bungalow is furnished — with air conditioners, refrigerators and television sets — free of cost. Maintenance of the house — including washing of sofa covers and curtains — is done free of cost by the government.
  • Air travel and train travel facilities, besides three landline and two mobile phones, and 170,000 free local calls every year.
  • They also get a loan of Rs 4 lakh to buy a vehicle.
  • Each MP gets near-free electricity of 50,000 units every year. And free water.

Source: The Times of India

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